Look, I can save a whole lot of time here by linking to Sean’s magnificent review of this film over at Colony Drop. I can’t say much that he doesn’t say better, especially as we’re on the same damn page for the most part… Here, read two sentences, then get over to the whole review. I’ll wait.
Redline is a bizarre amalgamation of Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Racers crossed with a European comics sense of style and an attention to detail that we all assumed the Japanese animation industry forgot sometime in the early 2000s. The animation, the characters and the design work are all worthy of unrestrained praise, but perhaps the most important aspect of the film is the way it makes you feel.
Although I’ve been aware of the project for quite some time, the actual release of Redline snuck up on me. I didn’t know that it was getting any kind of theatrical release here until Colony Drop tipped me off, for which I’m forever thankful. Redline has been showing since Friday at Viz Cinema in San Francisco, and will only be shown for two more days (that’s four more showings – It’s gone after Thursday). After that? Who knows! Wikipedia suggests that Manga Entertainment is going to do a real theatrical release in 2011. If you’re around here, don’t wait, get your ass to the theater.
I don’t want to retread what you can read elsewhere, and I’m loathe to spoil things, so I’ll get to my personal reaction: This movie put one of the biggest, stupidest, most awe-struck grins of amazement on my face that I’ve ever had in a theater. The opening sequence in particular, was amazing. Flawless. I don’t want to resort to too many clichés, so I’ll just refer you back to that grin. Although it slowed down in the middle and got bogged down with a couple of anime tropes as well, and although it crashes rather abruptly to the ending, none of that mattered to me in the end. The high points are so high that this movie gets my unqualified recommendation.
Thanks to a personal project of mine, a new racing film hits pretty near and dear to my heart. I actually knew walking into the theater that whether Redline pulled it off or not, I’d be inspired by the result – After seeing Speed Racer (2008), I knew that it wasn’t even aiming in the same direction as GT Story. Redline is its own beast as well, but it was amazing and I loved it (as opposed to Speed Racer, which was amazing in its own “did I just see that?” way, but I do not love). This one was inspirational to see pulled off so well. IThe only problem I have with it is that some of the shows that previously held that title for me are going to seem so mild and muted compared to the dialed-to-eleven intensity going on in Redline. But of course, GT Story is a topic for another time…